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Survival kit: Your 1st week in Frankfurt

Moving is always a daunting task, at times it’s akin to what we imagine being on a foreign planet might be like. Nothing is familiar and everyone speaks a language we don’t understand. With that in mind, we can assure you it’s like everything in life…it takes a bit of time but soon you find your groove, just like the Emperor did!

Now we can’t promise to stop the curve balls but we can promise to keep you caffeinated, fed and provide a bat for some of the more common curve balls that may come your way.

‘Life happens, Coffee helps

WORD! With this in mind, coffee shops also provide a great place to learn about a city and its culture. They allow you to unobtrusively insert yourself into a city and slowly acclimate without the social pressures a bar provides.

Some of our favourites are:
Bohnerie: brilliant owner, amazing coffee AND they roast their own beans, what’s not to love?!
The Holy Cross Brewing Society: wonderfully close to the Altstadt so you can explore it but not so ‘in it’ that you’re overrun with tourists.
Frida’s Cafe: head over to quirky Bockenheim and discover this gem of a cafe.

They say man cannot live on bread alone,
but darn if it’s good one can try

Now, before you move you will have heard that Germans know and love their bread.  Nothing more aptly proving this than the fact that UNESCO added Bread Culture to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list for Germany in 2015.

Now Picture this: The smell of freshly baking bread draws you in, in your mind’s eye you’re already eating a thick slice of the famous German bread with butter and cheese. So, you step into your local Bäckerei only to look up to find a million types of bread lying freshly baked before you, all with names you can’t decipher, you panic and leave with nothing but a French baguette.

There are many things that may confuse you while moving, buying bread should not be one of them!

Bread 101:

Firstly, the Germans favour a bread with substance and texture.  This leads us to our second point, many of the loaves lining the baskets in the local Bäckerei (bakery) are therefore fairly dark in colour and very wholesome.

Vollkornbrot (whole grain bread): legally it is mandatory for Vollkornbrot to have a whole-grain flour content of at least 90%.
Pumpernickel: A rich dark bread made with 100% rye.  Probably one of Germany’s most famous breads.
Roggenbrot (rye bread): This covers literally all other types of rye bread apart from Pumpernickel.  It varies a lot in density and color depending on regional recipes and preferences.
Dreikornbrot/Fünfkornbrot (three/five grain bread): as the name suggests it is made with variations of wheat, rye, barley, oats and maize

Of course, if you after something a little less ‘hearty’ look out for these:
Brötchen (bread rolls): This is Germany’s standard white bread roll. Variations include with sesame, poppy or pumpkin seed sold as whole-grain rolls.
Hörnchen the German version of croissants, albeit with more butter.
Bretzel (pretzel): sometimes sprinkled with salt, this is a staple snack and stop gap for anyone who doesn’t have time to sit down and eat.  Best eaten fresh out the oven

We recommend:
Bäckerei Kronberger
Zeit Für Brot, best cinnamon rolls in town I may add and they started here in Frankfurt.
Your local bakery – you usually can’t go wrong with your local bakery.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

When we first arrived, we were like a headless chicken boarding trains in the wrong direction and then boarding the next train still in the wrong direction (yip we’re special like that) we were also terrified of asking anyone for directions because we couldn’t speak German.  With this in mind RMV (Rhine-Main transport) app was a life saver and will save you hours of aimlessly wandering the underground – trust us!!

Here’s a quick Frankfurt transport 101 for all those fresh off the boat:

  1. U-Bahn – underground & mostly central
  2. S-bahn – central and out to suburban routes
  3. Tram – city
  4. Buses – ‘everywhere’

The metro system unlike London does not have turnstiles to control people coming and going…saying that, ticket officers appear like ninjas & can check your ticket anytime (€ 60 fine awaits you should you choose to attempt this and get caught…)

After 1am most trains & trams are no longer running, you can still find buses however at a reduced service, so check the schedules before you head out (it’s cold at those bus stops late at night, we know)!

Weekends and after 7pm those with weekly, monthly & yearly travel cards are allowed to have a plus one accompany them on public transport (and all your own children or up to 3 other children)

Other ways to explore the city are bike (DB Call a bike app), electric scooter (Tier Mobility is one of many app‘s available) and of course walking!

Supermarkets

There is one thing we can definitely say about the supermarkets or supermarkts as they call them in German, they are awesome! Ok, let’s not exaggerate, only the big ones are awesome (have you been into a small Rewe???), but the selection is bar to none. We came from England, enough said. So, we’re in heaven here. Walk into an Edeka and you’ll find a whole aisle dedicated to mustard!!! Welcome to Germany my friends!

We could spend hours just roaming the monstrosity that they call their supermarkt. In the major supermarkets they accept all sorts of payment, but just so you know in Pennymarkt only cash or an EC card is accepted. And if you decide to buy your bread in the bakery inside the supermarket, you pay there at the counter and not at the general checkout.

  1. Rewe – Rewe are literally everywhere. You can’t miss them. We would say they are your middle price point supermarkets
  2. Aldi – Great for a bargain and have a good selection too.
  3. Edeka – Amazing selection, higher price point.
  4. For your fresh fruit and vegetables, we would suggest your local street food market. Best way to support your locals.

One must eat and drink
(in this case, drinking perhaps more than eating)

So, you’ve just moved to Frankfurt and have a house full of boxes, so clearly cooking dinner might not be high up on the agenda of things to do. Have you tried cooking dinner in a flat without a kitchen, yeah apparently building an open fire is frowned upon. Here in Germany you often have to bring your own kitchen, say what?? So where do you go when you’re tired and feel like you’ve just stepped on to mars???

Food

Italian

  1. Superbros Pizza: They are super friendly and have great pizza! Nächste, hop over to Braustil for a beer (they are right next door:). You’ll need it, we know!
  2. PapanovaItalian hospitality at its finest

Sandwiches

  1. Maxie Eisen: set in the up and coming Bahnhofsviertel they have great sandwiches, they have an adjoining bar too
  2. Fame: across the river in Sachsenhausen, you’ll be glad you made the trip. Their sandwiches are hearty and delicious!

German Beer Gardens

  1. Bornheimer Ratskeller:  We love this place as its perfect for the whole family. The kids can run around in the enclosed garden while the parents drink up!
  2. Lokalbahnhof in Sachsenhausen – good beer, good food.
  3. Orange Beach and NormalKneipe (Nordend): for something more trendy and cool.

Drinks

Cocktails

  1. Kinley Bar:  Germany’s bar of the year 2020, enough said
  2. Hunky Dory:  cool, chic bar with a ‘speak easy’ vibe

Beer

  1. Naiv:  We highly recommend this gem of a place as it’s down by the river! Also, they have a great outdoor as well as inside space and their beer selection is super!
  2. Braustil:  whilst they may only have a small selection of their own brewed beers, boy are they good!

Wine

  1. Balthasar Ress Weinbar & Vinothek: in the heart of the Altstadt with a wonderful selection of wines
  2. Bockenheimer Weinkontor – head to Bockenheim for this beautifully rustic wine bar

Yes, you will need to leave your flat.
Things to do.

Your first week of living in Frankfurt will bring an array of mixed emotions: excitement, curiosity, fear, loneliness, and oh hell no, what did we just do? One thing you will definitely need to do is get out and explore your new city a bit. If you have kids, you will definitely need to get out and about or you will lose your mind!

  1. Walk along the Main
  2. Günthersburg Park or Grüneburg Park
  3. Kleinmarkthalle
  4. Ebbelwei Express
  5. Historische Museum to learn about Frankfurt – free every last Saturday of the month
  6. Main Tower for a view of your new city
  7. Apfelwein Kneipe

Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Good German Words to Know

So, we’ve left the best for last. Or maybe the worst for last, it all depends how you look at it!

So, let’s talk about the German language.  We’re going to sugar coat it, it’s one ‘tricky’ language!!  But after you’ve settled in and if you want to fully integrate then learning the language is a must. Many Germans speak perfect English, saying this, most will probably tell you they speak terrible English.  For the record, it’s a lie, they speak superb English and believe us it’s way better than our German!

When you decide to start learning the German language there is one thing you definitely need to know and it is this, do not ask why. Why you may ask? Because there is no good explanation for why the German language is the way it is. The Germans themselves have no clue either.  So, to keep yourself from having an absolute meltdown, just go with it and don’t ask why. You will thank us later!

Memorise, practice and try to enjoy the journey – here’s your first tutorial:

Guten Morgen, Guten Tag,
Guten Abend, Gute Nacht
Good morning, Good day,
Good evening, Good night
Vielen Dank, Danke, Bitte Thank you so much, Thank you, Please
Bitteschön You are welcome
ein Bier bitte, ein Weißwein bitte, ein Rotwein bitte Beer please, White wine please, Red wine please
Tut mir leid, entschuldigen Sie Sorry, Excuse me
Wo ist der Bahnhof? Where is the main station?
Ich möchte einen Kaffee bitte I would like a coffee please
Wasser, Brot, Käse, Schinken Water, bread, cheese, ham
Wasser mit Sprudel Sparkling water
Bezahlen bitte Pay please
Zusammen oder getrennt Together or separate?
Bestellen Order
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